Following the news that Matt Le Tissier and his fellow Soccer Saturday pundits Charlie Nicholas and Phil Thompson were let go by Sky, presenter Scott Minto has announced that he will also not be a part of Sky's coverage over the coming season.
However, former Arsenal and Crystal Palace striker Ian Wright has been heavily critical of anyone who believes that black pundits had anything to do with these changes.
The former Arsenal striker took to Twitter to criticise anyone who believes that pundits like Micah Richards, Sol Campbell, Clinton Morrison, and Alex Scott are the reason behind the others losing their jobs.
Over the years, the show has frequently changed its lineup with panellists including Frank McLintock, Alan Brazil, Clive Allen and Gordon McQueen all featuring.
It's understood that Paul Merson will still be a regular contributor, alongside the likes of Tony Cottee, Iain Dowie, Chris Kamara, and more.
Speaking about the racially-driven backlash to the changes, Wright said:
"What have they (black pundits) done? What have these guys done? Because a black person might get the opportunity to do this job? Why are people upset? Alex Scott, for me, is easily one of the best-prepared pundits out there. Easily. Micah Richards is one of the most exciting pundits to hit the scene in years. Keep their names out of your stinking unbrushed-teeth mouths.
"These guys - Matt Le Tissier, Charlie Nicholas, Phil Thompson - they've had an unbelievable run. It has been a great show. This happens to everyone in the industry. This is Sky's decision to evolve the show. I wish them all the very best. Yes, you can be disappointed that it has come to an end for those guys, but they've done brilliantly. But why does it have to be racially-driven? What does it have to do with Black Lives Matter? Or the fact that black people may get an opportunity to get those jobs?"
You can view Wright's comments below while Minto has also discussed his departure.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) August 26, 2020
The former Chelsea defender released the following statement on Twitter:
“It is with a heavy heart that after 13 incredible years with Sky Sports I share the news that I will no longer be working with Sky and be part of their ongoing football coverage.
“While the decision wasn’t mine, I leave Sky with nothing but fond memories of covering the EFL, Play-Off’s, Carabao Cup, Spanish Football, Revista De La Liga, and many more. It has been a truly fantastic experience and a privilege to work with, and alongside, so many talented individuals.
“I would like to wish the staff and teams at Sky all the very best for the forthcoming season - a season which is set to be truly spectacular both in the Premier League and EFL. I am hugely excited by the future and will be sharing news soon of my next project. I look forward to being back on the screen soon.”
Minto began working for Sky Sports in 2007 after a playing career that included spells with Charlton, Benfica, West Ham and Rotherham in addition to the three years he spent at Stamford Bridge.
🗣 Some personal news: pic.twitter.com/cE23Phwo2H
— Scott Minto (@skyscottminto) August 27, 2020
Regarding the departures of Thompson, Le Tissier, and Nicholas, Sky released a statement which said: “We are changing some parts of our football coverage – Matt, Charlie and Phil have done a great job for us over the years, and they will leave us with our sincere thanks and very best wishes.”
Liverpool icon Phil Thompson passed on his best wishes to the team at Sky and Soccer Saturday.
"I've had a great 22 years on Sky Sports. Enjoyed every minute with some amazing people on the show and behind the scenes which made it the iconic show it is today. Good luck to Sky, Jeff, Merse and the new gang on Soccer Saturday," he said.
Elsewhere, host Soccer Saturday host Jeff Stelling described the departure of the three pundits as "one of the saddest days ever at Sky Sports" and that the three men were "part of a team that for me was the best."